WWU's standout Climate Leadership Certification Program for undergraduates opens for applications

WWU Sustainability Engagement Institute’s certification program is among the only undergraduate programs of its kind in WA; offers holistic curriculum and unique opportunities for fieldwork and practical experience 

Bellingham, WA – WWU’s Climate Leadership Certificate program, Washington State’s only program of its kind open to undergraduate students, is accepting applicants for its fourth cohort, which will begin in January 2024. Applications are due October 25.  

The program provides the training and experience needed for students to learn a variety of skills for critical work in climate action and justice, as well as other vital areas of sustainability, including social justice, economic vitality, and well-being.  

“Climate leadership education is a growing priority among educators and employers alike, all of whom will be in need of scholars and future professionals equipped with the tools to navigate the global climate crisis and develop ways to mitigate its effects through innovation, awareness building and promoting climate justice,” said Grace Wang, director of the Sustainability Engagement Institute at WWU. “We are proud to be among the few institutions in the region to offer this kind of certification to undergraduate students.” 

Throughout the 18-month program, students engage in curriculum targeted at sustainability literacy, planning, and leadership, while also participating in hands-on practicum work with a variety of sustainability organizations in Whatcom County and the Methow Valley. 

Lindsey MacDonald, associate director of Sustainability at WWU, said, “Western has long been innovating in the fields of environmental sciences, environmental studies and sustainability. This certification program is another forward-thinking opportunity that has been developed in anticipation of the skills that our state, its employers and its communities will need in our graduates.” 

About the Climate Leadership Certification:  

  • Comprehensive curriculum: The program provides a holistic curriculum that covers critical aspects of climate leadership, including communications, equity considerations, planning, and sustainable practices. 

  • Practical Experience: Students gain valuable hands-on experience through fieldwork, internships, and research projects, preparing them to make meaningful contributions in addressing the climate crisis. 
  • Compensation: Students are paid to complete a practicum, which also counts for internship credit; expenses for place-based orientation experiences in Whatcom County and the Methow Valley are covered. 
  • Community Impact: Through on-the-ground work in collaboration with communities and organizations across the state, graduates of WWU's Climate Leadership Certification program are poised to make a positive impact not only on the environment but also in their communities and beyond. 
  • Leadership Skills and Network Building: Students develop skills specifically catered to work as climate change professionals, and through their practical work, have access to a network of professionals in the field of climate change and sustainability

Visit WWU’s Climate Leadership Certification website for more information about the program and for advice on how to apply. 

About Western Washington University  

Western Washington University offers more than 200 academic programs on its main campus located in Bellingham, and at additional sites in Anacortes, Bremerton, Everett, Port Angeles and Poulsbo. Western is recognized nationally for its successes, such as being named one of the top public master’s-granting institutions in the Pacific Northwest for 25 years in a row by U.S. News & World Report. The report also ranks WWU in the top 10 in the West—a region encompassing more than 500 public colleges and universities from Texas to the West Coast—and also spotlights Western as among the best colleges for veterans.

WWU is identified as among the most sustainable, green campuses in the nation by the Sierra Club, is known for being a top producer of prestigious National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Hollings Scholars, Fulbright Scholars, and Peace Corps volunteers, and nationally ranked for graduates who go on to earn research doctorates. The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Academic Workplace report named Western as one of the best colleges in the nation to work for, winning honors in two categories: teaching environment and tenure clarity and process. 


About Western Washington University  

Jonathan Higgins, Director of WWU Communications, jonathan.higgins@wwu.edu